Lucknow, Aug 3 (IANS) Yet another Uttar Pradesh officer - one known for his integrity - has killed himself because of growing tension at workplace.
In the last four years, five officers from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS),the Provincial Civil Services (PCS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) posted in the state have committed suicide. The latest victim was senior prison official R.K. Kesarwani, who shot himself after killing his wife July 27.
The 40-year-old jailer was known for his honesty and reform initiatives and for taking on criminal-turned-politicians for running their fiefdom inside the prison.
Kesarwani's suicide has stunned bureaucrats. An official said that immense "political pressure" and work demands left many of them with little time and zest for life.
"I have known an information services officer who was hounded by senior officials during the Mayawati regime. He attempted suicide on at least two occasions," an official said.
When contacted, the services officer told IANS that with two daughters to marry off and official harassment, he ran out of options. He considered himself lucky to be alive.
The situation was not different for Kesarwani.
Faced with adverse working atmosphere, said a close friend, he lost the will to live and became bitter since his suspension from duty after a riot in a jail in Basti.
He was attached to the prison headquarters for the last four months.
Earlier, additional district magistrate Vinod Rai, who was a popular officer, died after taking poison May 12.
Minutes before he died, he reportedly pleaded to the doctors to save him for the sake of his young son. He said he had tried to commit suicide due to growing frustration with his wife.
With the CBI in hot pursuit, a Jal Nigam engineer, Sunil Verma, shot himself in January.
His family alleged he was being framed by people who wanted to save their skin in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission scam.
On Dec 23, 2010, Girija Shankar Verma, a young Intelligence Bureau officer, hanged himself due to "work-related stress".
In November 2009, IAS officer Harminder Singh shot himself at his official residence, again due to "pressure" to clear some files.
Officials say the situation is alarming but emphasise that the suicides are not a trend.
Some officers have taken to yoga and meditation to overcome adverse circumstances. Intense work pressure of many kinds is known to grievously damage family life too.
Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner Anil Kumar Gupta said work pressure was a universal truth.
Working up to 17 hours and attending nearly eight meetings every day, Gupta said one had to learn to "compartmentalise work" and only then could there be peace.
Senior IAS officer Rohit Nandan of Air India cautioned young officers against taking hasty decisions.
"Pressures of different sorts are occupational hazards. One has to live with it and certainly not die for it," he said.
Surprisingly, the situation seems to be better in the equally stressed police force in Uttar Pradesh.
Inspector General of Police Badri Prasad Singh said the police force had adjusted to work pressure. Only a handful were unable to maintain the work-life balance, he said.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)